So Moses and Aaron went in to Pharaoh and said to him, "... If you refuse to let My people go, behold, tomorrow I will bring locusts into your country, and they shall cover the face of the land ...." Exodus 10:3a, 4-5a
For folks in Portage, Utah, 2012 was supposed to have been a good year.
2011 had been blessed with abundant rainfall and a mild winter. This year's warm summer promised an abundant harvest and smiling faces. Well, the faces of Portage aren't smiling.
You see, such conditions may be grand for growing crops, but they are off the scale when it comes to producing a bumper crop of boxelder bugs. Reports say the bugs are all over and when children or pets come in from the outside, they are groomed to remove the hitchhiking boxelder bugs.
Although Egypt's ancient Pharaoh might disagree, there are some who say the plague of boxelder bugs is almost of biblical proportions.
Understandably, folks who can't tell the color of their house because of the moving carpet of boxelder bugs swarming there want to know what they can do to get rid of the unwelcome visitors. Numerous suggestions have been put forth. Some have opted for free-range chickens, while others prefer spraying the beasties down with soapy water to dissolve the bugs' waxy exterior and begin a process that will dehydrate and kill them.
The only real answer says Portage needs a winter cold enough to kill the boxelder bugs.
Thinking about the Portage boxelder bugs made me realize you and I have a similar problem. Even if we are leading a relatively bug-free existence, we are still plagued by sin.
Consider that we have just as many sins as the people of Portage have boxelder bugs. Further, just as the Portage population needs God to send a winter cold enough to get rid of the boxelder bugs, we need the Lord to send a Savior to get rid of our sins.
Hold it, wait, that's not right!
God has already sent a Savior to take care of our transgressions. Isaiah had predicted how this would happen when he wrote: "But He was pierced for our transgressions; He was crushed for our iniquities; upon Him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with His wounds we are healed" (Isaiah 53:5).
Those words became reality when God's Son became one of us and bridged the chasm that sin had created between humanity and the Trinity. The culmination of Jesus' work was seen in His passion and death. In painful detail we see Jesus being beaten, spit on, whipped and crucified.
It was a terrible sight, made no less so by the knowledge that when innocent Jesus died, He was carrying our sins with Him. Still, by God's grace, the plague of sin is lifted, believers in the risen Christ are forgiven and heaven -- not hell -- will be our eternal home.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, once I lived under the plague of sin. In Your love You decided to save me from that plague. In the Person of Your Son, my Savior, I am free. Now may I express my gratitude in the life I lead, and the things I say. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries